Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Tools and Equipment Safety

Equipment Guarding

To provide proper safety, all machinery or equipment with moving parts that present a hazard to employees working in proximity to the moving parts or equipment should be equipped with machine guards.

  • Before removing guards, use a lockout/tagout process to determine and isolate all energy isolation devices.
  • Properly guard and insulate, when required, all piping and exhausts that could cause burns.
  • Never remove guards on portable tools.
  • Replace removed guards before the machinery is returned to operation.

When working with machinery guards, use the following precautions:

  • Before any equipment is put in service, the worker in charge verifies that all machinery guards are in place.
  • Keep machinery guards in place at all times when the equipment is in operation.
  • Post a sign or erect a barricade before removing a guard.
  • Equipment should not be run without guards unless an approved Management of Change (MOC) process is in place.

Abrasive Wheel Grinders


Abrasive wheel grinders come in many styles, sizes, and designs. Typical bench and pedestal grinders often have two abrasive wheels, or one abrasive wheel and one special-purpose wheel such as a wire brush, a buffing wheel, or a sandstone wheel.

These grinders come with a safety guard covering most of the wheel, including the spindle end, nut, and flange projection. The guards must be strong enough to withstand the effects of a shattered wheel. A work rest and transparent shields are often included.

When using bench grinders:

  • Grinders should have a protective guard and a properly adjusted tool rest with a gap within 1/8 inch between the grinding disc and the rest.
  • The adjustable tongue guard on the top side of the grinder should be within 1/4 inch of the wheel.
  • Ring test the abrasive wheel before they are mounted to ensure that they are free from cracks or other defects. Wheels should be tapped gently with a light, nonmetallic instrument. A stable and undamaged wheel will give a clear metallic tone or “ring.”
  • Employees using grinders should wear goggles and full-face shields. Keep these properly positioned near the bench grinder for ease of use.
  • Locate an on/off switch (preferably a dead-man’s switch) within reach of the person using the bench grinder.
  • Only trained and competent workers should change grinding discs.
  • The RPM rating of the grinding disk should match, or be greater than, that of the grinder rated RPM.
  • Grinders should never be used to grind wood, plastics, or aluminum.

Tool Use

  • Only competent and properly trained workers should operate power tools.
  • Use tools only for their proper function and keep them in good condition.
  • Do not use defective or altered tools.
  • Operators should visually inspect equipment and verify it is in safe operating condition before starting work.
  • Disconnect the power source from a tool and/or depressurize before adjusting the tool.
  • Properly fit guards and verify good condition at all times.
  • Label grinders and grinding discs to indicate maximum RPM and check for correct size and speed prior to fitting.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times when using any tools.
  • Use only ANSI approved properly grounded electrical tools with 3-pronged plugs or double insulation or ground fault insulation.
  • Do not use switch lock-on devices with any electrical or air-powered tools.
  • Explosive-actuated fastening tools should meet all requirements of the current NFPA 70 and be used only by trained, competent workers.
  • Before using electric tools in potentially flammable atmospheres, issue a Hot Work Permit and conduct suitable testing. Complete documentation that:
    • indicates whether the atmosphere contains a flammable substance in a quantity sufficient to create an explosive atmosphere
    • confirms work may be safely performed

Contractor Use of Company Equipment


When using company equipment:

  • Contract workers should not operate any switches, valves, or controls on company equipment unless specifically authorized to do so by the company representative.
  • Contractors should not tie in to existing company facilities including pipelines, sewer system, electrical power circuits, or any other equipment, without specific approval from a company representative.
  • Contractors should install blinds, locks and other safeguards only if they meet company standards and are approved by the company representative.
  • Once approved tie-ins have been made to existing company equipment, the entire system should be considered company property for the duration of the work being conducted.

Pedestal and Bench Grinder Safety by KBR Canada Company


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Before removing machine guards, which of the following actions should be taken to determine and isolate all energy isolation devices?

2. On a grinder, what is the approved tool rest gap between the grinding disc and the tool rest?

3. Which of the following is an ANSI-approved method for grounding plugs on electrical tools?

4. Which of the following is a method to ensure abrasive wheels on grinders are free from cracks or other defects?

5. Contractors should install blinds, locks and other safeguards only if they meet company standards and are approved by _____.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.